Balance is Better - Waka Ama

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What is the Balance is Better Kaupapa all about?

Sport NZ has developed the Balance is Better philosophy to inform and provide a framework that puts the needs of the participant first. It is focused on growing the capability of the sporting system to better prepare Rangatahi in their development phase to help them realise their potential.

The focus of the Balance is Better philosophy is on why rangatahi play sport – to have fun, be challenged, develop and improve, be part of a team or group, and enjoy time with friends. There are a number of adult behaviours affecting youth sport. The Balance is Better philosophy pushes back against these.

Why Waka Ama?

Waka Ama as part of a collective with 14 other National sports is standing together to promote “Balance is Better” in Rangatahi sports participation.

“Balance is Better” focuses on fun and development, reviewing existing competition structures and encourages Rangatahi to play multiple sports, rather than specialising early.

The values and culture that underpin Waka Ama align with the philosophies behind Balance is Better and Waka Ama sees this as a way to support real change in the way we promote and encourage Rangatahi to perform in our sport.

This initiative will also help us retain Rangatahi in sport through the next stages of their lives whilst enhancing their chances of becoming lifelong lovers of Waka Ama and sport in general.

Waka Ama – for all – for life!

What is Waka Ama NZ doing?

Over the next few months, we will be sharing resources and tools to help enhance the experience of our rangatahi in Waka Ama and providing information to educate our parents, caregivers, aunties, uncles, and adults in this philosophy, ensuring we are providing an environment for our rangatahi where they can thrive!

What needs to change?

To change this, we need to start from the bottom up and we need those involved in delivering Rangatahi sport to think differently. We need to think about how we can put the fun and skill development back into rangatahi sport, and ensure our values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga,hauora, and tū tangata are at the forefront of everything we do – especially when it comes to our tamariki and rangatahi.

What can I do to help?

For a start, you can head to and sign up to get updates and information directly from the Balance is Better website. 

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Updated: Jul 14, 2021